One in three first-home buyers are getting financial assistance from their parents to help them get on the property ladder, new research shows. But experts warn this could be fuelling inequality in the housing market and making property prices even more unaffordable.
First-home buyers are increasingly tapping into the bank of Mum and Dad, with 29 per cent being provided help from their family in the form of cash hand outs, rent-free accommodation and guarantor loans, a survey by comparison website Mozo found.
On average, a first-home buyer borrowed more than $64,000 — and 67 per cent of parents were not expecting it to be paid back.
First-time buyers in NSW were borrowing the most from their parents, followed by Victoria and South Australia, which ranked equally. The ACT and Northern Territory first-home buyers borrowed the least from their parents.
Some parents were even putting their own retirement plans on the line, with one in 10 parents saying they’d delayed retirement to assist their children buy a home.
The requirement for parent assistance “points to a broken property market for younger generations,” Mozo director Kirsty Lamont said.
“We’re seeing the Bank of Mum and Dad playing a huge part in helping children take their first step towards acquiring a home,” she said.
Some parents had even taken on expensive methods of helping their children buy, including buying on behalf of their child, at an average cost of more than $230,000 — and buying the property as a partner with a $155,762 price tag.
“For younger generations aspiring to own their own home, the sheer luck of family assistance can be a deal breaker as to whether or not they have the opportunity to purchase their own property,” Ms Lamont said.
First Home Buyers Australia co-founder Taj Singh said a third of first-time buyers they speak to are “getting some sort of financial assistance, whether that be getting a non-repayable cash gift, loaned funds or a guarantee”.
“A lot of the buyers I have dealt with don’t have any issues servicing a loan so they are able to purchase a home that they otherwise couldn’t because of the deposit hurdle,” he said.
He said parent help was becoming more common, but it wasn’t a good sign for those who don’t have access to the funds and are required to continue saving.
University of Sydney head of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy Peter Phibbs said the property market had become a driver of inequality in Australia’s cities.
“It reinforces inequalities since only kids whose mum and dad have [wealth] get to benefit,” Professor Phibbs said.
Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson was unsurprised with the findings, with first-home buyers at historical lows in some markets, especially NSW.
“It’s a situation where the landed gentry is returning,” Dr Wilson said.
“Property wealth is now inherited, and concentrated on a family basis, and most people will have to rely on wealthy parents if they’re not very successful.
“It makes it a nightmare for people without wealthy parents or who are unable to access that wealth.”